Come join us on Friday for a cross campus International Women’s Day picnic and a chat about women and media. Food, conversation and sun will be provided. The picnic is a collaboration between Melbourne, RMIT, Swinburne and LaTrobe Wom*n’s Departments. The picnic is at Argyle Square (off Lygon Street) and will start from 2pm. Here’s the Facebook event!
This friday marks the 106th birthday of International Women’s Day. From the first demonstrations in Russia in 1917, a trigger for the February Revolution, the day has been a time for activism by women and for women.
The lives of women have changed, mostly for the better, but IWD remains as a reminder of what is left to do. The theme of IWD this year ‘A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women’ is an assertion that this year, like the years before it, we have been asked to observe terrible violence against women flashed on our tv screens and printed in our newspapers. We have observed how these experiences have been twisted and exploited. How they have been ignored or explained away.
Women and media can get complicated. It connects us, allows sharing of experience, spreads knowledge. It has created new forms of activism and expression. Yet often the stories of women are contorted. Representation of women is like looking into a funhouse mirror, just off. That is if they’re there at all. It’s not surprising, on the whole it is not women who control the production of print, television or film. Females owned only 6.8 percent (91) of 1,348 full-power commercial television stations in 2011, compared with 5.6 percent (66) of 1,187 full-power commercial television stations in 2009 (Federal Communications Commission’s Report on Ownership of
Commercial Broadcast Stations). Despite the prominence of women in 2012’s presidential election, male front-page bylines covering the election at top newspapers outnumbered female bylines nearly three to one (4th Estate Project).
It’s time to talk seriously about the presence of women in the media. It’s time to talk about how we can take control over our own stories.